A long time ago (before children), I was trained to be a counselor for women, learning the ways of patriarchy and misogyny. I loved every minute of being surrounded by feminists and I wanted to be one.
I was a young twenty something who was going to make big changes. And I did, in myself mostly. Some for the good, and some ironically silencing my identity.
I buried my girly-girl style, because I wanted to fit in. I felt like I had to be a certain way to be good enough. No makeup, or other socially suppressing tactics.
I don’t blame the women I was with. They were strong minded and happy to own their opinions. My problem was I had no idea how to do that. There seemed to be no balance, and I didn’t realize you could be your own version of a feminist.
When I got engaged one of my mentors seemed disappointed. Her face said it all. I had let the team down. I had surrendered to oppression and was going to the dark side (or maybe she had been married before). Hard to say, but there would be a struggle with my wants and the desire to be the best feminist I thought I had to be.
When I had my first child, a daughter, I was Hell-bound on making her a feminist too. She wouldn’t see pink, because I wouldn’t accept it as a gift. People knew not to bother. She was not going to be playing with Barbie, pretend vacuums or fake make-up.
I was projecting big time. And it worked, for a while.
I raised a gender neutral child for the first two years. She wanted to cut trees and make things when she grew up. There are very few pictures of her in dresses and there is no pink. However, a two-year-old soon forms their own strong willed opinion. Which in hindsight is very feminist.
My Bob the Builder loving, two-year-old went to her first princess party. She came home with a grab bag vomiting sparkles, fairies and oppression. This one party fueled her fierce desire to dress and play like a pink, glitter-bug prancing freak.
I was horrified. I worked too hard for this. I grabbed the train set, pin striped overalls and my moustache. She took contraband glitter glue from a purse she hid under her bed, and smacked a tiara on my head.
I had to let go a little. She could dress up like a princess but would be referred to as “Queen”, for that’s who reigns. Nice try. She was strong-willed and was buttering Granny up for Barbies and Disney Princess swag a week into her transition from my ideal to her self.
I'm so happy she refused to back down. She found ways around my agenda and let her desire shine. This allowed me to bring back my inner girly-girl who had been snuffed out.
We wore pink, and lots of glitter. We were so happy playing dress up and fashionista. I still do. She however, at nine has started wearing blue, purple and black. Cause they are just colours to her. Her Halloween costume this year was Hermione from Harry Potter because she wanted to cast spells.
I’m not sure if she let go of pink because it was a phase done or if she simply saw the rest of the rainbow as hers to explore.
Either way my inner Cinderella thanks her for the rescue.
Reposted with edits from Blunt Moms